Accor to open first fully digital hotel in Northern Europe

Ibis Styles London Gloucester Road will reopen as the first Accor hotel in Northern Europe to provide a fully digital experience with contactless solutions at each step of the guests’ stay. The digital ecosystem will include features such as online and mobile check-in; in-hotel payment; the Accor Key digital key solution; digital F&B services; and guest relations via Whatsapp throughout the stay. The hotel is slated to reopen this summer.

The adaptation of the experience at the London hotel is the first step in a roll-out plan which will impact at least 50% of hotels across all brand segments in North and Central America in the next five years, according to Accor.

“We know that guests increasingly seek contact-light travel and hotel experience that is easy to use, and we want to ensure they can do just that,” said Carla Milovanov, SVP customer technology services, Accor. “This is not about robots or faceless technology, this is about the smart integration of innovative, customer-facing technology at pace and at scale. Technology is part of our daily lives and is now fully part of our hotel experience—and with this important step, we give our guests the opportunity to adapt their hotel stay according to their preferences.”

Check-in will be made easier for the guest with a full tailor-made contactless online check-in experience. Any guest, including those with indirect bookings, can choose to self check-in from their smartphone, tablet or laptop. Accor has also extended its existing Fast Check-Out (FCO) functionality to all guests, allowing them to check out via their smartphone and a PDF invoice will be sent to their email.

Accor’s proprietary mobile technology, FOLS, enables hotel teams to greet guests with ease, removing the need for check-in desks and enabling employees to interact with guests directly. The introduction of FOLS Mobile gave the hotel teams the freedom to engage personally with guests whilst using their mobile operating system to manage their day-to-day tasks. Since the launch of this technology in 2018, guest satisfaction and employee engagement at hotels has increased.

Each guest will be provided with an Accor Key that will allow room access, entry to meeting rooms and floor access from elevators. The hotel led the U.K. in a global pilot scheme for this technology. The company expects to roll out the Accor Key to equip 20,000 doors in 2021 and all new hotel openings from this summer.

Hotel guests will be able to make online payments for their stay through a quick and secure payment experience by Pay by Link. Guests only need to sign in once and they can then pay for expenses throughout their stay. Accor’s Click Pay Collect technology also enables guests to order food and drink from the hotel’s digital menu using just their phones. Fully integrated with Accor’s hotel systems, expenses can either be paid upfront or charged to the room and paid on checkout.

Enhancing the guest experience further, Accor has integrated Whatsapp into the in-hotel customer journey, enabling guests to liaise directly with hotel teams before and during their stay, making pre-arrival requests and helping to facilitate their needs during the stay.

Luc Gesvret, SVP loyalty, partnership & guest relations, Accor Northern Europe, said, “Technology is an intrinsically important part of our business, but only where it enhances the ability of hotel teams to provide great service and create memorable experiences, which, at the end of the day, is what really matters. Our everyday lives are augmented by technology and today that continues in our hotels. We want to enable guests to get what they want in our hotels in the way that most conveniently fits with their everyday behavior. We know that in this changing world. Our guests want more safety and opportunity to maintain social distancing, so having technology at their fingertips that they can own and manage, comes at a perfect time. It is a technology that has our guests at the heart of it.”

Located in the heart of Kensington, ibis Styles London Gloucester Road features en-suite rooms with free WiFi, a lobby bar and a dining room. The hotel is located close to Gloucester Road Underground Station, the Natural History Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum and Harrods.